Preventing Nuclear War: There’s No Cure

Dave Hall and Mack Johnson gave a presentation, “Preventing Nuclear War: There’s No Cure,” at this year’s Pacific Life Community gathering. People asked if they could share the presentation more widely. Dave provided the presentation in a PDF format that makes it easy to open and view.


(l to r): Dave Hall and Mack Johnson

Click here to open, view and share this presentation. 


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Thirteen nuclear resisters arrested at Bangor Trident base


Photo by Fumi Tosu

The Pacific Life Community returned to Washington state for its annual gathering, concluding with a blockade of the main gate into the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. The base is the Pacific homeport of the Trident nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet.

A two-day program at a nearby retreat center built on the legacy of now-retired Raymond Hunthausen. As Archbishop of Seattle in 1984, he declared that “Trident is the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.” Hunthausen’s wages were garnished when he publicly refused to pay the war tax percentage in protest.

Snow and rain did not deter the demonstration at the Trident base gate on March 7. More than 40 people joined together for prayer, reading Hunthausen’s words before peacekeepers safely blocked the incoming traffic and several banners were stretched across the road.

“War is Immoral” read one, and another read, “Abolish Nuclear Weapons”.

Police soon moved in and arrested seven people who were blocking the road on the state side of the line.

Ticketed and released for “pedestrian leaving the curb” were Kelsey Chalmers, Susan Crane, Ed Ehmke, Allison McGillivray, Nick Mele, Mary Jane Parrine and Sam Yergler.


Photo by Clancy Dunigan

Six others who crossed over the marked property line onto the federal side read sections of the Nuremberg Principles out loud before being arrested by military police. Alexandria Addesso, Karan Founds-Benton, Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, Betsy Lamb, Mary Mele and Charley Smith were charged with trespass and received ban and bar letters before being released.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to The Nuclear Resister for this report.


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See “The Coming War On China” at PLC 2017

At this year’s Pacific Life Community gathering there will be a screening of an important new documentary by the Australian filmmaker journalist John Pilger, “The Coming War on China” — a free film event that is open to the public.


The film will be shown on the evening of Monday, March 6th at 7:30 PM at Pilgrim Firs retreat facility in Port Orchard, WA. Pilgrim Firs is located at 3318 SW Lake Flora Rd Port Orchard, WA 98367.

The Coming War on China is John Pilger’s 60th film for ITV. Pilger reveals what the news doesn’t – that the world’s greatest military power, the United States, and the world’s second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, are on the road to war. Pilger’s film is a warning and an inspiring story of resistance.

Click here to watch the trailer for the documentary. You can learn all about the documentary at

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Pacific Life Community Retreat – Final Agenda & Last Call for Registration!

Dear PLC Participants,

The date of this year’s Pacific Life Community retreat (“The Passion of Resistance” March 5-7) in Port Orchard, WA is rapidly approaching; if you are joining us at the last minute, you can still register onsite at the Pilgrim Firs retreat on opening day, March 5th ($135 covers lodging for nights of March 5th and 6th and includes all meals through lunch on March 7th; scholarships are still available).  More information at the PLC website: .  For more information on scholarships, or on last-minute registration please email Sue Ablao at

We’d like everyone to be prepared for early nightfall and the quirkiness of Pacific Northwest weather, so plan on bringing a good flashlight (will be helpful in getting back to your cabin at night), rain gear, and suitable clothing such as a coat or jacket, hat and gloves for cold/chilly nights.  Pilgrim Firs is a rustic venue;  while cabins and the Main Lodge are heated, you will want to be well insulated when walking to and from your cabin to the Main Lodge.

Attached and copied below is the latest updated agenda; it offers general idea of the flow of events beginning Sunday afternoon, March 5th.  Recommended for pre-retreat reading is the biography of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, “A Still and Quiet Conscience” by John McCoy.

Our Transportation Coordinator is Joe Power-Drutis, who can be reached on (253) 779-8362; email is  It’s a good idea to confirm your travel plans with Joe if airport pick-up or drop-off is needed.  Also, don’t forget that the Bremerton-Kitsap shuttle can take you from the airport to Port Orchard and back; the Port Orchard stop is less than 2 miles from Pilgrim Firs.

Also, please tell all your friends in the Seattle-Tacoma area that the screening of John Pilger’s documentary “The Coming War with China” on March 6th at 7 PM (songs at 7, film begins at 7:30) is free and open to the public.  They don’t need to register for the weekend to come to the screening at Pilgrim Firs

We look forward to your presence and to an enriching, inspiring retreat in Port Orchard.

With love and anticipation,

George Rodkey, Sue Ablao and Elizabeth Murray
PLC 2017 conference organizing committee
PLC website:

Pacific Life Community 2017 Retreat
“The Passion of Resistance”



2:00pm – 4:00pm – Registration

4:00pm – 6:00pm – Welcome Opening prayer -Short introductions – Reception

6:00pm – 7:00pm – Dinner

7:00pm – 9:00pm – Tree of Hope
– Updates from around the world and the country – Jeju, Standing Rock,                               International Peace Walks, Palestine, other
–  Music – James Morgan


7:15am  – Prayer

8:00am – 9:00am – Breakfast

9:00am – 10:00am – Regional reports

10:00am -Noon – Sisters Kathleen Pruitt and Chauncey Boyle
present an interactive presentation on
“Retrospective on the Life and Work of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen”

Noon to 1:00PM – Lunch

1:00pm – 2:15pm – “Discernment, Experience and Consequences of Direct Action” –
Panel: Dennis Apel, Steve Kelly, Susan Crane and others

2:15pm – 2:30pm – Break

2:30pm – 3:00pm – Trident Update by David Hall

3:00pm – 4:00pm – Formulating an action plan for Tuesday morning

4:00pm – 6:00pm – Further Action Planning – Letter writing, poster, banner and sign making.

6:00pm – 7:00pm – Dinner

7:00pm – 9:30pm – Music
– “The Coming War on China” a film by John Pilger

7:15am – Prayer

7:30am – Pack up and make lunch

8:00am – 9:00am – Breakfast

9:00am – 9:30am -Travel by carpool to Ground Zero

10:00am -10:30am – Gather at GZ for Pledge of Nonviolence

10:30am – Noon – Leave for action at Base

Noon – Gather back at GZ for sack lunch, debriefing, 2018 PLC and goodbyes.

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Here’s a quick rundown of the program for this year’s Pacific Life Community retreat! We hope to see many of you there and anticipate a rich and enlightening experience that should re-energize us in our quest for nuclear abolition!

Sunday, March 5 – We will gather Sunday afternoon with registration from 2 to 4 followed by dinner, introductions, and an icebreaker. The informal evening ends with music/singing featuring local musician Peter Gallagher, who hails from Portland by way of Tacoma.

Monday, March 6 – Monday is a full day! After breakfast, we’ll hear regional reports from our PLC Community members (please be prepared to offer a brief [3-5 min] rundown on highlights from the past year from your organization).

For the keynote address, Seattle Archdiocese Sisters Kathleen Pruitt and Chauncey Boyle will present an interactive retrospective on the life and work of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen. Archbishop Hunthausen played an important role in the early days of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action during the struggle to halt the arrival of nuclear weapons and materials at the Kitsap-Bangor Trident submarine base, which he famously called “the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.” While Archbishop Hunthausen will not be able to join us personally for this event, we will have the opportunity to send him our greetings and love.

In the afternoon, there will be an interactive panel discussing the discernment process, experience and consequences of nonviolent direct action against nuclear weapons with peacemakers Dennis Apel, Susan Crane and Steve Kelly. Later we’ll have updates from our members who have been to Jeju, Standing Rock, Peace Walks and the recent anti-nuclear conference in Astana, Kazakhstan.

For those wishing to take part in the Tuesday morning action at Bangor Naval Base, we’ll discuss a plan of nonviolent direct action, putting into practice what we learn from Dennis, Susan and Steve earlier in the day. There will be time set aside for letter-writing, poster- and banner-making.

To cap off Monday evening, musician James Morgan will lead us in songs of resistance and the evening will wrap up with an important new documentary by the Australian filmmaker journalist John Pilger, “The Coming War on China” — a free film event that is open to the public. See the trailer for the documentary here:

Tuesday, March 7 – Tuesday morning after breakfast, we’ll head to the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo (approx. 30 minutes’ drive north) and gather to recite the Pledge of Nonviolence before marching (weather permitting) to the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base for a vigil, holy Mass and action. Then we’ll regroup at the Ground Zero Center to learn about its history; we may want to tie peace some cranes to the border fence as a symbolic reminder that peace is always possible as an alternative to nuclear war. We’ll enjoy a light lunch before a closing prayer and say goodbye.

A more detailed, hour-by-hour agenda will be available in your welcome packet at check-in on Sunday afternoon (2-3 pm).

We would like to encourage everyone to read “A Still and Quiet Conscience – The Archbishop who Challenged a Pope, a President and a Church” by John McCoy before your arrival at PLC. It is available at most independent booksellers, online and (hopefully) in libraries everywhere.

For any questions about registration or the PLC event, contact Sue Ablao at (360) 286-9157 or; or Elizabeth Murray at  

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Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, a benevolent leader before Pope Francis

As we prepare to honor the legacy of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen at this year’s PLC gathering, here is a 2015 article from a Montana newspaper for your consideration.

Click here to read Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, a benevolent leader before Pope Francis.


Archbishop Hunthausen in 2012


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PLC 2017 to honor Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen

The Pacific Life Community (PLC) will hold its annual retreat March 5-7, 2017 at the Pilgrim Firs retreat facility in Port Orchard, WA [ website at ].

This year’s theme is “The Passion of Resistance” — encompassing both the joy and pain that comes from struggling against the status quo — and will feature a retrospective on the remarkable life work of Raymond G. Hunthausen, archbishop of Seattle from 1975-1981.  A principled peacemaker of profound integrity, Archbishop Hunthausen gained national attention when he became the first US bishop to urge tax resistance as a way to oppose the nuclear weapons buildup.  Archbishop Hunthausen participated in numerous nuclear resistance activities at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in the early eighties, sometimes turning up in ordinary clothing and identifying himself simply as “Ray.”

Raymond G. "Dutch" Hunthausen, GZ co-founder Jim Douglass; Hunthausen's sister Edna; GZ co-founder Shelley Douglass; and brother Jack Hunthausen in Helena, Montana, November 20160

Raymond G. “Dutch” Hunthausen, GZ co-founder Jim Douglass; Hunthausen’s sister Edna; GZ co-founder Shelley Douglass; and brother Jack Hunthausen in Helena, Montana, November 20160

Sisters Chauncey Boyle and Kathleen Pruitt, of the Seattle Archdiocese — both of whom were longtime associates of Archbishop Hunthausen — will co-deliver the keynote address on Archbishop Hunthausen’s remarkable contributions to his community and to a peaceful, nuclear-free world.  An interactive discussion will follow with the aim of helping activists and peacemakers draw important lessons from the life example set by Archbishop Hunthausen.

In preparation for the discussion PLC attendees are asked to read “A Still and Quiet Conscience:  The Archbishop who Challenged a Pope, a President, and a Church” by John A. McCoy, available either at libraries or for purchase online.  Archbishop Hunthausen, who currently lives at a retirement home in Helena, Montana, will not be able to join us, but there will be an opportunity to send him a message of greetings and gratitude.

An action and Mass/vigil is planned at the Bangor Naval Base – home to eight Trident nuclear submarines – during the retreat weekend.  Further details including a full agenda will be provided upon receipt of an RSVP (please send to both Sue Ablao at and Elizabeth Murray at

The per-person fee is $135, which includes 2 nights’ lodging at Pilgrim Firs and all meals starting with dinner on Sunday, March 5th, through breakfast on Tuesday, March 7th.  Checks should be made out to retreat co-organizer Sue Ablao and mailed to her at:  4040 Dyes Inlet NW  Bremerton, WA  98312.  Any further inquiries may be directed to Sue at or Elizabeth at



Pilgirm Firs is a 120-acre camp/conference center nestled amid old-growth pines with hiking trails, a lake, cozy cabins, and an in-house kitchen staff that accommodates vegetarians and omnivores alike.  Please check the website for more information:

Travel planning:  Please plan to arrive at Pilgrim Firs sometime between 2PM and 4PM on Sunday, March 5th (Dinner will be served at 6 PM that evening).  We are required to be checked out of the Pilgrim Firs facility by noon on Tuesday, March 7th.  For those planning on flying in to SeaTac, one option is to take the Kitsap-Bremerton airport shuttle to Port Orchard ($22 one-way; takes about an hour from the airport – no advance reservation needed).  The Port Orchard shuttle stop is only about a mile from the Pilgrim Firs facility.  We expect to have volunteer drivers for those needing a ride to & from the retreat facility.  More information on the shuttle service here:

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